Link: Over its first 36 years in print, only 3,000 copies of Moby Dick were sold.
“The one Melville resuscitation attempt that stuck was Carl Van Doren, a very influential American critic. And he, according to the legend, found a copy of Moby Dick in a used bookstore, went home, read it, was so blown away that this book had like completely vanished from – from literary consciousness, and he wrote an essay about it.
“D.H. Lawrence noticed that essay, E.M. Forster noticed that essay. And then in the teens and the twenties Moby Dick actually reentered American consciousness, and all of his books were brought back into print, in which they have stubbornly stuck since then.”10 notes